Archive for September 2005

Why podcasting won't kill traditional radio

I can’t believe we’re even having this discussion.

Radio didn’t kill books.

The cinema didn’t kill radio.

TV didn’t kill cinema. Neither did the VHS, nor the DVD. Nor has TiVo, and it doesn’t seem likely that it will, either.

The internet hasn’t killed newspapers; it hasn’t killed the printing press; it hasn’t killed brick-and-mortar stores.

Sure, each of these innovations changed the way we thought about the technology that had come before – the older technology wasn’t the latest new whizz-bang thing any more. Sure, each of these innovations changed the way people used the older media. Sure, some business models were destroyed by each of these innovations, and some businesses went under, or got drastically reduced.

But: books are still published. Cinemas still flourish. People still listen to the radio. People still shop in real stores.

Why then do people like Adam Curry think that podcasting is going to kill radio?

Aside from historical precedent, there are a few other reasons why I don’t think podcasting will kill radio (although it’s certainly going to *change* radio; and in the process, business models may fail, companies may fail; but that’s different from killing radio):

* Live call-in shows aren’t possible on a podcast. Live call-in shows can be recorded and podcast, sure – I’ve heard some great such shows (Science Friday from NPR is one great example) – but you still need some other medium in order to conduct your live show while you’re recording it and taking calls.

* In fact, live shows of *any* kind aren’t possible on a podcast. “Almost live”, sure; assuming you do no postproduction, and have a fast enough net connection to stream the audio to your server as you’re recording, I could be downloading minutes after you’ve finished recording, and listening minutes later. However, nothing can change the fact that it is later.

* Broadcast radio is local. That’s not to say that you can’t do a great local podcast – check the Philly Feed for the best example I’ve seen. Broadcast radio’s localness becomes especially important for live shows of all kinds – whether it be a live call-in discussion on community events, local up-to-the-minute news, local live traffic reports for commuters, breaking news on current weather conditions, live coverage from a sporting or cultural event – there’s no way podcasting can deliver any of this.

Radio isn’t dead, and it’s not going to die. Radio is unhealthy, and is going to have to adapt to cope with new innovation – but it’s not dead, not by a long shot.

And crawling, on the planet's face…

* You should see the Rocky Horror Picture Show – in 30 seconds, and re-enacted by bunnies. Almost as good as the real thing, and you don’t have to stay up till all hours of Saturday morning and risk dozing off in the slower second half of the movie.

* I can’t differentiate between the names Brett and Brent. I know a lot of them, and I can never remember if any given person is Brett or Brent. Even when they tell me, I’m never sure what I heard.

* Everyone I know seems to be dating a Paul at the moment – at least 3 regular reads on LJ are, anyway.

* New job is fantastic. I’ve got no internet access (I do have web access, but that doesn’t count. If you don’t understand why, don’t bother asking, I’m in a bad mood), so I can’t be online to chat at all. This is a good thing, as the new job is so full-on that i have no time for such frivolities anyway.

* However, it also means that by the time I get home, I have a lot of email to catch up on, blogs to catch up on, etc. If I go online at home, 9 people swamp me and try to talk to me at once. I don’t have the mental energy to deal with them – and even if I did, that many simultanous chats means I get nothing else accomplished.

* As a result, I’m not online at all lately. This sucks, because there are some people I only ever got to talk to online. I miss you.

* I am, however, getting a lot better at responding to email lately, so give that a try if you’re wanting to talk to me.

My Katrina post.

I’ve refrained from making any comment, and I’m not planning to make any further comment either.

I only have two points to make, which have been made elsewhere, better, and in more detail. These, though, are the two most important points that I think have come from this disaster:

* First, the US Government has spent billions over the last four years on planning to survive disasters, fuelled by terrorism fears. Katrina was an event that was expected, that they had days (if not weeks) of warning about – and still they couldn’t manage to respond until days later. A week later, people were still being rescued. Imagine how they’d have coped if there’d been no warning…

* Second, George W. Bush, responding to criticisms that the relief effort was racially prejudiced, said that (I’m paraphrasing here, if the lazyweb can supply a direct quote and a source I’d be grateful) “The hurricane didn’t discriminate, and neither did the relief effort”. Even if that statement is true, it’s not telling the full story – the evacuation effort certainly discriminated. The evacuation effort depended on people taking themselves out of the area, something which the poorer people weren’t able to do.

That’s all, goodnight.

On Brisbane


I’ve been in QLD the last couple of days. Spent Friday and today in Brisneyland (I’d give you a google maps reference, but I’m at a crappy kiosk in the airport right now and can’t.)

Some things that I’ve noticed have included..

* Brisbane is an odd mix of the ultra-modern and the ultra-backwards, the trend-setting and the trend-trailing. Example: my trip from the airport into the city by taxi was swift and smooth, aided by a new 2 (in some places, 3) lane (in each direction) highway called the inner-city bypass, that takes you over (and under, but mostly over) a whole bunch of suburbs – similar in length and purpose to the Cross-City Tunnel in Sydney. However, unlike the Sydney variant, it’s well-utilised, it does what it’s intended to do – and it’s free. No toll at all, just free. On the flip side, to get out of the airport in the taxi, there’s a $2 charge – nothing unusual there, Sydney has something similar. However, in Brisbane, this charge is collected by the taxi driver inserting a $2 coin into a kiosk as you leave the airport. Very quaint.

Unfortunately, I now have only 10 minutes before boarding, and I need to get to the other end of the terminal, so I must scurry. I’ll muse on other topics, including the public transport, nokia chargers, and RiverFire, later.